Sri Lankan president to resign next week after mass protests

Decision comes hours after protesters break through police barricades, enter president's residence in capital Colombo.

Sri Lankan president to resign next week after mass protests

Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will resign on July 13, the country's parliament speaker announced on Saturday.

Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said Rajapaksa informed him that he would step down on Wednesday, according to local broadcaster NewsFirst.

It is very important for the entire country to remain at peace in order to maintain a peaceful transition, Abeywardena said.

Rajapaksa's decision came hours after protesters broke through police barricades and entered his residence in the capital Colombo.

Earlier, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called an emergency meeting of political party leaders amid growing anger over the government’s handling of the economic crisis.

Wickremesinghe requested the speaker to summon parliament, a statement from the prime minister’s office said.

Police in Sri Lanka declared a curfew on Friday in Colombo ahead of planned weekend protests.

The island nation of 22 million people has defaulted on all of its foreign debt due to a lack of foreign exchange.

Amid currency depreciation and high inflation, the country has been unable to pay for petrol and other necessities, resulting in anti-government protests. A lack of fuel for power stations has also resulted in constant power cuts. State employees have been asked to work from home, while schools are closed.

The government is negotiating a bailout package with the International Monetary Fund.

Hüseyin Demir